Portree duo stay unbeaten, but Kyle equaliser keeps Sleat on top

Skye and Lochalsh League

Two draws in five days meant Portree Juniors missed out on the chance to go clear at the top of the Skye and Lochalsh League table, leaving title-holders Sleat and Strath a point ahead at the start of this week.

Juniors’ clash with their local rivals — and fellow title-chasers — Portree last Tuesday night produced an incident-packed 90 minutes which contained six goals, two penalties and a red card.

In the end the teams had to settle for a point apiece — a result which kept both of them unbeaten and very much in the championship hunt.

In a tense opening spell it was Portree who edged ahead when Stephen Cormack pounced on a poor clearance to run through and score.

Juniors equalised when Chris MacNab volleyed home from inside the box, but a clever run from Allan “Ginger” MacKinnon eventually set up a second for Portree — after a few blocked shots Paul MacKinnon blasted high to make it 2-1. John Murphy and Jack Robson combined to set up Dean MacLeod to equalise for the Juniors and send the teams in level at the break.

Portree dominated the second half following the introduction of Chris Rose to the attack, but Juniors’ defence held firm until the 80th minute when Rose won a penalty. Cormack drilled home to give Portree the lead for the third time in the match. But with five minutes left a Danny Steele free kick found Ally “Buttons” MacLeod, and as he challenged for the ball referee Angie Campbell adjudged there had been shirt-pulling and awarded a penalty. MacLeod dusted himself down and sent Portree keeper Andrew Burns the wrong way to make it 3-3. In the final minute of the game Portree defender Stephen Morrison was sent off for a second cautionable offence, bringing the curtain down on an eventful night’s football.
Last Saturday, meanwhile, Kyle produced their best performance of the season to draw 2-2 with Juniors at Douglas Park.

The two sides were well matched in the early stages, but it was Kyle who made the breakthrough when Juniors defender Sandy Phelps was beaten by an unkind bounce and Stewart Johnston surged through to score. Soon afterwards Arran Matheson came close to doubling the lead, only to be denied by an excellent header off the line from Danny Steele.

Kyle went in at half time with their noses in front. In the second half it was the turn of Juniors to dominate possession, but without creating much in the way of clear chances.

On the hour mark Juniors equalised when Phelps atoned for his earlier error with a tremendous run from defence into the Kyle area to create a chance for Angie Macpherson. His initial shot was blocked, but when the ball broke out Dean MacLeod swept it home to equalise.

Juniors went ahead five minutes later when John Murphy found himself clean through on goal to slam the ball beyond Paul Wood in the Kyle goal. Murphy then had a great chance to make it three, but was thwarted by the quick-thinking Wood who blocked with his feet to keep Kyle in the game.

In the closing stages Kyle laid siege to Juniors’ goal, and were duly rewarded when a long throw caused panic in the box and Arran Matheson grabbed a leveller with just seconds left on the clock.